I sent in this question to FAQ on the home page and received this response:
ANSWER:What kind of territory control enforcement will tribes have in Prelude? You mentioned that they can claim resources but how is that accomplished? How will tribes protect their out-of-village land modifications (roads, buildings, etc)?
So strategic level territorial control will even be in Prelude for allied tribes that coordinate settlement and trade. So the question for large tribes will be whether to have one large circular area or break up into several smaller in-game sub-tribes to get a custom shaped territory to cover certain resources or trade routes (roads).A tribe's area of influence is a radius around the totem and increases based on size of the tribe, so this encompasses an area larger than the core of the village. In the early prelude this area is a safe zone and all resources within the area are claimed.
Later, tribes can place secondary totems to claim / expand their territory.
Need I say this is very cool!